Child Support

Child support is when an obligee (the parent receiving child support payments) is granted financial support from an obligor (the parent responsible for making the child support payments) to support the needs of their children. The Texas Family Code provides guidelines for the calculation of the support payment amount; however, the court can sometimes order above the guidelines. In certain circumstances, the court will consider modifying the payment amount by examining evidence of the children’s proven needs including but not limited to any special needs or specialized educational or health requirements. A child support order can also be enforced when the payer fails to pay or pays late.

While it can appear that child support is merely a mathematical equation, that is not always the case, so it is important to speak with a lawyer about the facts specific to your case and your children’s needs.

Modifying Child Support

Circumstances change, the needs of children change over time, and previous child support orders may no longer be appropriate and need to be changed to reflect the current situation of the family. A court can adjust the child support if the circumstances of the child or person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the earlier of the date of the order’s rendition, the date of the signing of a mediated or collaborative law settlement agreement on which the order is based, or it has been three years since the order was rendered or last modified and the monthly amount of the child support award under the order differs by either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would be awarded in accordance with the child support guidelines.

Additionally, if the court may modify an order if the parties agree to an order—under which the amount of child support differs from the amount stated by the guidelines— and the circumstances of the person affected by the order materially and substantially change

Enforcing Support

Payments of child support are very important as the receiving parent typically depends on these funds to pay monthly expenses for the household. If someone does not pay in a timely manner (even if that person pays in full each month), their delay may be addressed with the court.

A petition for enforcement is a request to the court asking the court to force the obligor to make the previously ordered child support payments. Courts take child support very seriously and can impose severe sanctions for failure to pay, including jail time, suspension of driver’s or professional licenses, and monetary sanctions.

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